(Adds background, additional Locke quote)
WASHINGTON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke urged China on Wednesday to ensure a "secure" commercial environment for Google GOOG.O and other U.S. companies after the world's top search engine said it may shut its Chinese-language website because of cyber attacks.
“The recent cyber intrusion that Google attributes to China is troubling to the U.S. government and American companies doing business in China,” Locke said in a statement.
“This incident should be equally troubling to the Chinese government. The administration encourages the government of China to work with Google and other U.S. companies to ensure a climate for secure commercial operations in the Chinese market,” Locke said.
Google threatened on Tuesday to pull out of China because of censorship and cyber attacks on rights activists, putting a further strain on U.S.-Sino relations.
Locke said he has personally raised with Chinese officials several times the importance that President Barack Obama and the U.S. government place on “the full and free flow of information on the Internet.”
“In November, the president made Internet freedom a central human rights issue on his trip to China, holding the first ever online town hall where he highlighted the principle that the Internet must be free and open,” Locke said.
China has not made any significant comment since Google said it will not abide by censorship and may shut its google.cn website because of attacks from China on human rights activists using its Gmail service and on dozens of companies.
Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Sandra Maler and Cynthia Osterman
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.